By Roy Exum, chattanoogan.com:
When the first College Football Playoff rankings were released earlier this week, Alabama football coach Nick Saban got it right on the button when he shrugged, “I don’t even care, to be honest with you.”
By David Paschall, timesfreepress.com:
Early and often has been Alabama’s offensive objective in getting the ball to junior receiver Amari Cooper, and that game plan is as effective as ever entering November. Cooper has caught an eye-popping 71 passes for 1,132 yards through eight games for the No. 3 Crimson Tide, and he needs just 1 more yard to match the school’s single-season mark set by Julio Jones in 2010. That accomplishment will have to wait at least eight days, because Alabama has an open date before next week’s trip to LSU. In last Saturday’s 34-20 win at Tennessee, Cooper set the Alabama single-game receiving record with 224 yards.
By Andrew Gribble, al.com:
1) Cyrus Jones breaks up a potential TD pass to West Virginia WR Kevin White – Alabama was on its heels and bracing to see its 10-point lead drop to three early in the fourth quarter of its season opener. The first play of the quarter went to White, who torched Alabama all game, for 25 yards and inside the Crimson Tide’s 10-yard line. On second-and-goal, Mountaineers quarterback Clint Trickett lofted a perfect fade pass to the 6-foot-3 White. It would have been an easy touchdown if not for Jones, who stands at 5-foot-10 and ripped the ball out of White’s hands at the last second. “I knew what they were going to do,” Jones said. “We talked about it in the huddle. And to go out and make a play for my team definitely felt good.” West Virginia settled for a field goal. The Mountaineers never got inside Alabama’s 45-yard line the rest of the game.
By Marc Torrence, Bleacher Report:
One of Alabama’s best positional units is about to get even better. The Crimson Tide’s pass rush, which, at 21 sacks, is one away from equaling last season’s total, will see the return of one of its most experienced players when Alabama travels to LSU next weekend in a pivotal SEC West matchup. Junior linebacker Denzel Devall is back at practice after having surgery on an ankle that he injured during the Ole Miss loss. Devall started every game before that loss at outside linebacker and had previously appeared in every Alabama game in some capacity since joining the team in 2011.
By JOHN ZENOR, dailyjournal.net:
The defensive end bought it. Alabama quarterback Blake Sims pushed the ball toward T.J. Yeldon’s gut, then pulled it back and was off to the races when the Tennessee lineman made a beeline to the tailback. Touchdown, Alabama. The new-fashioned way. Sims has made most of his plays as the third-ranked Crimson Tide’s quarterback with his arm, delivering balls to Amari Cooper with relentless frequency. But the former running back’s quickness, shiftiness and athleticism has enabled Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin and Alabama to sprinkle in some zone read plays often with impressive results. “He has brought an added dimension that coach Saban has never had at Alabama, with a guy that can run like that,” former Tide quarterback Jay Barker said.
By Jim Kleinpeter, NOLA.com:
Alabama coach Nick Saban isn’t keeping count but he has taken notice of LSU’s propensity to run the ball. Like LSU, Alabama has this week open before the two teams meet Nov. 8 in Tiger Stadium. In the past three games – all victories – LSU has run the ball 50, 51 and 55 times and compiled 762 yards, an average of 254 per game. Leonard Fournette has twice rushed for more than 100 yards in that span and has rushed for 657 yards and seven touchdowns on 131 carries for the season, a 5.0 average.
By Kirk McNair, BamaMag:
Admit it. In August you were convincd that Jacob Coker would be Alabama’s quarterback. Blake Sims had been ineffective in the A-Day Game last April, and nothing in his previous four years with the Crimson Tide had indicated he would be a superior quarterback. Coker had transferred from Florida State and came with glowing recommendations. Two-thirds of the way into the 2014 season, Alabama is 7-1 overall and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference play and in contention for both the SEC and national championships. A primary reason for the Crimson Tide’s success has been the play of Blake Sims.
By Andrew Gribble, al.com:
Alabama had so many scholarship running backs last season, two never even took a snap. One year later, that’s the sort of problem the Crimson Tide wished it had heading into its second bye of the season. Dee Hart’s transfer to Colorado State and Alvin Kamara’s departure left Alabama with two fewer running backs by the start of spring football. Five-star freshman Bo Scarbrough failed to qualify. Two quarters into October, junior speedster Kenyan Drake went down with a broken leg. Freshman safety Ronnie Clark, who joined the group to provide depth, tore his Achilles tendon and is out for the season. T.J. Yeldon, who dealt with a minor injury in September and has been limited at practice throughout the month, missed the fourth quarter against Tennessee and isn’t practicing this week because of an injured foot.
By MARQ BURNETT, ledger-enquirer.com:
Alabama right tackle Austin Shepherd said the Crimson Tide’s offensive line has trained for moments like this since position coach Mario Cristobal arrived two years ago. The Tide will be without starting left tackle Cam Robinson “for at least two weeks,” but Shepherd said it’s next man up as every player on the line trains at every position. “I mean, it kind of happens all the time,” Shepherd said. “The way Coach Cristobal teaches it, he kind of tries to teach you all five positions at once. When I got here five years ago, you learned your position and that was it. The way the young guys are learning it now, you pretty much start at center and work your way out and pretty much learn all five at once.”